Southern Border Region | After years of advocating for the Federal Government to control the U.S. Border Patrol, the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) has learned that the Office of the Inspector General will be conducting an investigation that will look into cases of brutality or use of excessive force by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. The OIG’s announcement comes at a time of increasingly deadly and disproportionate use-of-force, a problem that is exacerbated by a leadership vacuum at the top of CBP.
Since July of this year, four unarmed border residents have been shot and killed in separate incidents by Border Patrol agents in the southern border region. One San Diego resident, who was a U.S. citizen, was killed in a residential area. Three others were residents of Mexican border communities and were killed while standing in Mexico by bullets shot across the border by Border Patrol agents. Additionally, a Border Patrol agent was shot and killed by a colleague in a friendly-fire incident near Naco, Arizona, raising to 5 the number of killings in three months, and raising to 19 the number of known killings since 2010.
“The credibility of the ‘largest law enforcement agency in the nation’ is in doubt, and the public is overdue an explanation. It is time for a full and open investigation into the systemic use-of-force problems within CBP, said Krystal M. Gómez, Advocacy and Policy Counsel ACLU of Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley Office.
Among the victims, was U.S. citizen and mother of five, Valeria Munique Tachiquin, who was shot and killed by a plain-clothed agent, Justin Tackett, in the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista. SBCC is gravely concerned about Border Patrol hiring practices after learning this week that Agent Tackett was suspended four times for misconduct as an Imperial County (CA) Sheriff’s Deputy and had avery troubling record in that law enforcement agency. The Sheriff’s Depertament ultimately issued Tackett a notice of termination for “unprofessional conduct, dishonesty, violation of or refusal to obey reasonable regulations, insubordination, violation of rules, incompetence and failure to follow proper procedures for arrest, search and seizure and treatment of persons in custody.”
“Knowingly hiring bad apples, having a policy of shooting first and asking questions later, being accountable to no one, all point to an agency that is out of control. The Border Patrol is rapidly subjecting border residents to a state of violence,” said Christian Ramirez, human rights director at Alliance San Diego and SBCC director.